My sister, a breast cancer survivor, called me at work on Friday last week to relay a story that she knew I would be interested in due to my love for the team. She runs a cancer outreach organization called the Cancer Association of Anderson (SC) that helps sufferers and their families financially as well as being a conduit of information and support of other types. She started the organization after she got cancer and realized how important the support and kindness of strangers was to her in those essentially frightening and lonely times.
This past week a four year old boy named Quinten Williams died of bone cancer. She had just written them a check the week before to help with travel expenses and so on that they had incurred from their treatment sessions at Emory and thought when his uncle came in to see her it might be to thank her or maybe tell her about some other help they might need. He asked if she had a red and black "prayer shawl" he could have. She knits things and re-sells thrift store finds as one of the many different ways she goes about raising funds for the organization. He told her that he wanted it to display at Quinten's funeral to signify his love for his favorite team. She didn't know that his situation had become so grave and was, obviously, heartbroken. While he had been at Emory he got an autographed helmet from Mike Vick. My sister didn't even know who Vick was and I am not sure whether he sent it or delivered it personally.
Quinten had lost his leg in August and had only been diagnosed with the disease about three months ago. His last words were, "Tell my big brother to take care of himself." Something about the story just really hurt me deeply and made me realize how little a win or loss really matters in this whole thing. These players are continually thrust into situations like this by virtue of their fame and are surely humbled by the experience.
The team lost a great fan and I was really also humbled and somewhat humiliated to know there are four year old kids who will never see our team make the Super Bowl and are braver than I ever thought about being. With this on my mind Sunday I taped his name on the back of my game jersey and just tried to appreciate the blessing that is life and thank the kid for reminding me what matters. Win or lose...it's all good. Thanks Quinten.